Remembering Tye Noorda
| Apr 8, 2014 9:00 AM
We learned with great sadness that Lewena “Tye” Noorda, a true friend and benefactor of the School of Dentistry, died on April 5, 2014. On behalf of all of us at University of Utah, Health Sciences and the School of Dentistry, I offer our deepest condolences to her four sons and their families at the loss of this generous and remarkable woman.
The first time I met Tye, we had lunch and I had a chance to discover how gracious, kind, and funny a woman she was. I remember asking why she and Ray were so committed to dental health, and she told me this story: When they were young, Tye fell down and knocked out her two front teeth. In those days, the newlyweds had little money and could not afford to have her teeth fixed. One time, she said, they were sitting in a public space and a young man approached her. Before she knew it, he was chatting her up. Awkwardly, she leaned over to Ray, who was sitting on the other side of her “What do I do now?” she whispered. “Just smile at him,” Ray responded. And so she did.
When the University of Utah opens its new dental building later this year – the Ray and Tye Noorda Oral Health Sciences Building – it will be due in large part to the generosity of Tye Noorda and her family to the University to construct the facility. Access to dental care was of particular interest to Mrs. Noorda, because she had endured those two missing front teeth for a year before they could afford the repair. After that, she and her husband swore that if they ever could help others avoid that hardship, they would.
Their fortunes changed through the years and Ray Noorda turned a fledgling computer company named Novell into an industry powerhouse. The Noordas never forgot their promise to help others in need of dental care. Through their generosity, the new School of Dentistry will offer state-of-the-art teaching and training facilities, which, under the leadership of Dean Rena D’Souza, will enable us to produce dentists who provide outstanding oral care and who also may teach or conduct research to move the science of dentistry forward. As part of the University’s appreciation for the Noorda family’s vision, Tye Noorda was to receive an honorary degree from this University next month.
As Mrs. Noorda wanted, and we are proud to do, we have committed the School of Dentistry to providing oral care for those who need it and lack the resources to afford it. We can think of no better way to pay tribute to Tye Noorda than to continue her legacy.
Author: Vivian S. Lee, M.D., Ph.D., M.B.A.
About the Author: Dr. Vivian S. Lee is the Senior Vice President for Health Sciences at the University of Utah, Dean of the University of Utah School of Medicine, and CEO of University of Utah Health Care. Read her full bio herecomments powered by Disqus